Sports Futures Betting

Sports future betting markets are one of the most popular markets in all of sports betting. If you’re a fan of sports talk radio and television, you have undoubtedly heard a pundit letting you know what “Vegas” thinks of a team’s chance to win it all.

Sports future betting is betting on an event that will happen in the future. Futures are also outrights, meaning that your selection must win for the wager to be graded as a winner. There are no pushes when it comes to future bets. Sports future markets have expanded quite a bit since they made their debut in online betting markets. Most bettors are familiar with odds on which team will win the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Title or Stanley Cup, but these days, most bookmakers have futures market for just about every sport they offer.

For some sports, such as the NFL football, futures have expanded far beyond which team is going to win the Super Bowl, AFC, or NFC title. These days, there are odds on every division in the NFL at most popular sportsbooks.

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Sports Futures Market Timeline

Sports futures are the one market that is available 365 days a year for betting, for just about every sport. The oddsmakers readjust odds to win a championship or title of a major sport and release new odds quickly. Sportsbooks will release the odds to win the next Super Bowl almost immediately after the previous one ends. Some betting sites have futures for the next year’s Super Bowl available before the season concludes.

Once the odds are released, they aren’t etched in stone. The odds on futures will update based on the performances of the teams in the league and for any notable suspension or injury. Of course, they also moved based on betting patterns.

When a notable injury or suspension is announced, it’s not uncommon to see futures markets pulled off the board, adjusted, and reopened for betting. Futures are just like any other market from the oddsmaker’s perspective. They can be changed throughout the season and may change minutes before the bet is concluded, although that is rare.

Sports Betting Futures Market

Sports betting future markets are firmly geared to recreational bettors. The vast majority of people placing future bets are squares that are only looking to bet on their favorite team or back one of the top teams to win the title.

Getting balanced action on both sides can be tough when we’re talking about a single game. When it comes to futures markets, this is nearly impossible. There are just too many bets coming in on the teams that have a higher chance to win and not enough action on the middle of the road teams or longshot underdogs. Since balanced action won’t get them commissions, sportsbooks are forced to charge extra juice. Futures betting markets are notoriously highly juiced for this reason. The commission charged by bookmakers are considerably higher than the standard -110 pricing for most wagers.

Futures also have low maximum betting limits that are usually far below other major markets. Sportsbooks may take tens of thousands on NFL sides and totals, but they generally only accept up to $1,000 on future bets, and even that may be on the high end. Many purely recreational sportsbooks have a maximum bet of $500 or lower.

The Vig In Future Betting

The vigorish or juice charged on futures betting markets is the biggest issue with betting them, and it’s one of the main reasons that sharp bettors steer clear. Online sportsbooks have hold percentages that are often in the range of 20-30%. It’s not unheard of for Las Vegas bookmakers to eclipse 40%.

futuresIn our article on NFL Futures, we go into detail about how to remove the vigorish from futures markets. We highly recommend reading the above-linked article before reading the rest of this article. We also dive into a sport-specific strategy for MLB futures.

Futures Markets – Not Highly Efficient

Futures betting markets move based on public betting patterns, not by sharp action. Add in that and the large vigorish and we have a market that is not efficient. Futures don’t work in the same way that side and total betting do. The public does have an effect on the lines, but sharp action spurs most moves in what is called a steam move. The oddsmakers will adjust for public betting action if it is large enough due to exposure concerns, but the sharps are the ones truly shaping the lines.

In futures markets, however, the inmates are running the asylum as they say. Recreational bettors are moving the odds, and since the betting limits are low so that they can protect themselves, the market is not frequented by sharps. According to some offshore oddsmakers, they often run into issues with one team getting two-thirds or more of the betting handle. In situations like this, it’s hard to blame the sportsbooks for the low limits and the high vig.

Line shopping and removing the vig from futures markets is a strong combo. When it comes to futures, sportsbooks are much more likely to have lines that differ more widely than other markets, such as sides or totals.

Line shopping before you place a futures bet is paramount. Getting the best price in a market with such a high bookmaker’s advantage is a necessity. With that said, that doesn’t mean you should expand your list of trusted operators. Futures, in particular, should only be wagered with top rated sportsbooks because there is often an extended period between when the bet is placed and when it is settled.

Should I Hedge My Futures Bet?

Futures are one of the better spots to consider hedging your bet, especially in the case that the amount is extremely large or deemed life-changing to the bettor who placed the wager. It’s still important to realize that you should generally not place a -EV bet to hedge a +EV bet.

Is Betting On Futures Worth Your Time?

It’s tough to say. The most fundamental part of sports betting is targeting markets that are inefficient. Futures might be the most inefficient market in all of sports betting, but the increased juice makes them almost unbeatable in some scenarios.

For instance, if you think a team that is currently an underdog to make the playoffs or Super Bowl has a strong chance to make it there you might consider betting their futures market. If they get close, you can hedge the bet and pick up yourself a nice guaranteed profit. However, let’s say instead you decided to bet on the team each week and into the playoffs instead of taking them on a future bet. There are also opportunities to take them on the moneyline or alternative lines if you think they may spring an upset that week.

It’s easy to see a 20/1 or more payout and picture yourself receiving a nice payout if the bet wins. It’s not hard to forget that you’re paying a massive amount of juice. In most cases, bettors will find themselves with a better wager if they take the team in individual games towards the end of the season or in each playoff game. They’re going to be placing bets with a lot less juice and fairer returns. This can be done through a variety of wagers, including sides, moneylines, and other propositions.

Other Issues With Futures

The other issues with futures it that the market can tie up money for an incredibly long time compared to any other market. If you place a futures bet at the beginning of the MLB season on which team will win the World Series, you won’t see your money until late October.

For someone with a large bankroll, this isn’t as big of a deal, but for new bettors who are looking to increase their roll by continuously by attacking inefficient markets – it matters. Building a bankroll when you’re starting out is difficult and locking up a portion of it for several months or longer isn’t usually a wise decision.

Best Sportsbook For Futures Betting

Bovada and BetOnline are our picks if you’re going to bet sports futures and are living in the United States. Their markets have less vigorish than most of their competitors, and they’re one of the most trusted brands in online sports betting history. They also have more extensive offerings regarding futures than most other sportsbooks.

Best Sportsbooks For Futures Betting In The US

Bovada best overall sportsbook
  • Excellent and timely payouts
  • More odds and betting markets access
  • Competitive odds and excellent sportsbook for betting NFL, NBA or NHL.
  • Football-specific bonuses offered at the start of each season.
  • Large assortment of sports betting markets, including live betting, team and player props.

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Why Is Bovada Sportsbook The Best?

Bovada is the top betting site in the industry and easily the most professional. They offer competitive odds in all sports and tons of NFL markets, from propositions to live betting. Their 100% up to $250 Welcome Bonus isn’t massive, but it has one of the lowest rollover rates at just.

BetOnline best sportsbook bonus
  • Access to many betting markets
  • Timely payouts guarantees
  • Posts NFL, NBA, and NHL odds earlier than other sportsbooks.
  • Takes up to $25,000 on NFL point spreads plus other popular sports bets.
  • Large deposit bonus, up to $2,500, and endless reloads.

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Why Bet At BetOnline?

BetOnline’s rise to one of the top sportsbooks online has been remarkable. They have a long history in the industry but have truly come on in the past few years. They offer massive Welcome Bonus available online, where new players receiving 50% up to $2,500 on their first deposit.

Best Offshore Sportsbook For Futures Betting

Betway sportsbook
  • Excellent and timely payouts
  • More odds and betting markets access
  • Competitive odds on NFL, NBA, and NHL games and other markets.
  • Lots of year-round sports promotions and a VIP Program.
  • One of the most trusted sites for international bettors.

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Why Is Betway The Best?

Betway is one of the offshore betting sportsbooks online. Their focus is more on European and British sports, but they have a large assortment of markets for both NFL football, NBA, NHL and European football (soccer). They offer new players a 100% Sign-Up Bonus up to $100.